Letter from Indiana Climate Scientists

Letter from Center for Urban Health to Governor Pence explains the impacts of climate change on human health, and offers assistance in tackling these problems October, 2015

The science behind climate change is clear, and we should no longer ignore the potential impacts on Hoosiers, say over 20 climate scientists from Indiana Universities in a letter to Governor Pence.

“We have understood the basic principles of climate change and the roles that human emissions of warming gases like carbon dioxide play on global conditions for some time now” states lead author Gabriel Filippelli, Professor of Earth Sciences at IUPUI and Director of the Center for Urban Health. “And now the science is even more clear—human-produced heat-trapping gases are having the expected impact globally and locally, with the increasing temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and other climate changes all having impacts on people here in Indiana.”

Thus, the real “debate” about climate change is not about the science, but rather about how we act moving forward and how we plan to respond to the most disruptive impacts of climate change on the natural environment and society.

“We have been concerned for some time that real climate science is not entering the dialog in Indiana on issues ranging from environmental protection to energy and other infrastructure” says Filippelli, a sentiment shared broadly by the Indiana experts who are signatories to the letter to Pence. “It’s important to prepare society for the changes that are coming. We shouldn’t waste money designing and building infrastructure for the climate of the past, for instance,” said Jeffrey Dukes, Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, “We need to plan for the future.”

The letter offers Governor Pence an opportunity to utilize the expertise of Hoosier climate scientists to better understand the impacts on Indiana and to include science in planning for energy and transportation infrastructure in Indiana.

With the launch of the Clean Power Plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, individual states now have a schedule of carbon emission targets to hit. In the case of Indiana, the plan’s targets will require a continued shift away from coal-fired power plants and toward more renewable sources of energy.

Indiana has already been a leader on several energy fronts, including solar and wind and the conversion of coal plants to cleaner natural gas, says Filippelli, noting that the targets set in the EPA plan are necessary for limiting the impacts of climate change and are good for Hoosier health, the environment, and the economy.


Gabriel Filippelli

317-274-3795 gfilippe@iupui.edu

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